Startups Are Rarer, but Missouri Still Seems to Attract the Right Sort

By Nicklaus, David | St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO), April 21, 2013 | Go to article overview

Startups Are Rarer, but Missouri Still Seems to Attract the Right Sort


Nicklaus, David, St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)


As the economy recovers, you'd think people would get more energized about starting a business. Both funding and customers should be easier to find in good times than in bad.

In fact, just the opposite is happening. The Kauffman Foundation, which publishes an annual index of entrepreneurial activity, says Americans started businesses last year at the slowest rate since 2007.

A possible explanation, Kauffman suggests, is that fewer people are starting businesses out of necessity. Those would be the folks who got laid off, had trouble finding another job and decided to reinvent themselves as consultants or freelancers, or maybe turn a jewelry-making hobby into a business.

As the job market becomes a bit more promising, some of those folks are happy to return to a 9-to-5 lifestyle.

The decline in entrepreneurs-of-necessity is just a hypothesis, and it may not be the right explanation. It's possible that the slow, grinding nature of this recovery is also dissuading the classic opportunist with an idea, a dream and a fierce independent streak from setting up shop.

For Missouri, the distinction between necessity and opportunity is an important one. The state was one of the least-entrepreneurial places in the U.S. when the recession began, and it's now well above average.

Last year in Missouri, 35 of every 10,000 adults started a business last year. That startup rate of 0.35 percent is down from 0.40 percent in 2011, but up from as low as 0.15 percent in 2008.

Should we worry that, as the job market improves and all those self-employed consultants find regular jobs, Missouri will once again bring up the rear in the startup statistics? …

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